Some people, including several scientists, have proposed a “geoengineering” solution to global warming that would cool the planet by artificial means. This would most likely mean injecting heat-reflective aerosols into the upper atmosphere – but solutions as dramatic as building a giant mirror in space have also been put forward, with varying degrees of seriousness. It’s tempting to think of geoengineering solutions as an “easy way out” from global warming – but it has become clear that such solutions would carry huge risks as well. Adding vast quantities of aerosols to the atmosphere, for instance, could disrupt rain patterns around the world, leading to the same sorts of drought and flooding that is one of the main consequence of global warming we’re trying to avoid. Finally, no one really knows for sure if geoengineering would even work to cool down the planet. It’s not impossible that geoengineering schemes could work; but putting all our eggs in that basket when the technology is unproven would be very, very dangerous.
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